Macedonia Travel Guide
Macedonia is in the heart of the Balkans where east meets west. Its country has endured wars, conflicts, and separations, yet its people stay anchored to their values and traditions.
The capital Skopje is transforming with cranes, scaffolding, statuary becoming the new backdrop to the old town bazaar, ancient churches and mosques. It’s an exciting time to visit this city where old is meeting new, and observe the urban renewal that’s taking place. Wondering what will the “new” Skopje look like?
Highly recommend driving through Macedonia, and taking in the vistas from placid Lake Ohrid to the beautiful scenery through mountain passes. Also, the Macedonian food is delicious and the people are very friendly!
Here are some recommendations on where to go in Macedonia, and what to do at Lake Ohrid and Skopje.
What to do in Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid is a favorite vacation destination for Macedonians and nearby Balkan countries. If you coming from the east – Skopje, or west – Albania, it’s a perfect place to stop and stretch your legs, or stay the night, before continuing on. Many recommend to take a boat to see some Byzantine churches and monasteries – Church of Sveti Jovan at Kaneo, St. Naum, an old Macedonian Orthodox Monastery, and the Church of Saint Zaum.
We were stopping for lunch before driving to Skopje, so we visited the main town in Ohrid, walked the pedestrian street, shopped, and strolled along the lake’s edge where you see fisherman boats, and incredibly scenery. For a view of the village and lake beyond, hike to the fortress on the hill.
The best to see in Skopje!
Sights to See
- Mother Teresa’s House & Memorial Museum: Mother Teresa’s original home is no longer standing, except for a few corner plaques that mark its location. A few blocks away the old Catholic Church where Mother Teresa was baptized used to stand. Today the Memorial Museum is there with many of her writings, awards, and precious personal items. It’s a wonderful small museum to visit to gain insight into her life and her birthplace. The chapel is beautiful and peaceful.
- Old Stone Bridge: This historical bridge connects the old town to the new town. It’s quite a contrast to the Old Bazaar, when you walk over this bridge to see all the new classical-like style buildings that are being built and statues surrounding the main square.
- Old Bazaar: Loved this area of Skopje with the maze of pathways weaving throughout the old part of town. You can find everything to buy in the Old Bazaar from antiques to jewelry to elaborate dresses. There are several outdoor cafes to sit and have coffee or a bite to eat.
- Mustafa Pasha Mosque: Located behind the Old Bazaar, up a small pathway is an Otttoman mosque built in 1492. There are some nice views of the town from the garden. My guide said you can enter the mosque if you are dressed modestly before and after pray.
- Sveti Spas Church or Church of the Holy Salvation: While visiting this 16th century church, we met the Orthodox leader as we entered the courtyard. Quite a special occasion.
- Macedonian Main Square: We were allowed into the main square that’s surrounded by scaffolding and in the process of being restored. We stood under the giant statue of Alexander the Great of Macedonia. Pretty impressive. From this square you find several pedestrian streets and shops.
- Statues! This city has more statues than any other city in the world I think – there are statues everywhere you turn.
- Kale Fortress: Located at the top of a hill, this fortress is mainly ruins and the city is working to restore some of this fortress. Fantastic panoramic views from here!
Where to Stay & Dine
Hotel de Koka Very central to the main city center and the old town. Recently renovated and excellent service with a smile – just ask for the Manager Zudi Enuz or Elena at the front desk reception.
Bushi Terrace Restaurant: Enjoy traditional Macedonian dishes on a terrace that overlooks Skopje and the Old Bazaar.
Exeter International: Need help planning & booking your trip? Contact Alex Datsev to customize your travels.
Lake Ohrid: Alberta Gulicovska
Skopje: Olivera Cvetanoska
Good to Note: We visited Viator website to help us find the local guides for Macedonia.
Lake Ohrid to Skopje: Avis
TRAVEL PRODUCTS & SERVICES
DK Travel: Excellent travel guides with helpful maps, inspiring images, and lots of great information to help you plan your travels.
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TRAVEL INFORMATION & ADVISORIES
U.S. Passports & International Travel: The U.S. Department of State provides helpful information at this site including passport & visa requirements, embassy locations, and safety & security.